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Hastings Women’s Law Journal

Authors

Sharon Kaur

Abstract

This note examines the recent change to the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) whistleblower program. Whistleblowers receive a percentage of the proceeds collected as a result of an action or settlement. In 2018, Congress expanded the definition of the proceeds collected to include criminal fines, civil forfeitures, and penalties arising out of the violations of reporting requirements. Prior to this change, the IRS asserted that criminal fines and civil forfeitures did not constitute “collected proceeds.” Analyzing the judicial and legislative history, along with empirical data reported by the IRS, this note specifically addresses whether the change in the definition of proceeds advances the objectives of the tax whistleblower program and promotes good tax policy.

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